25 February 2021
What’s Your Achilles Heel?
You may not know this, but the Achilles tendon is named after Achilles, one of the greatest warriors and heroes in Greek Mythology. He was shot by a poisonous arrow in his heel during the Trojan War and died.
Now you don’t have to be a warrior or indeed an athlete to injure your achilles tendon. It can happen to anyone.
But before we shoot (pardon the pun) into conditions and treatments of the achilles tendon, let’s review some anatomy and function.
The Achilles tendon (the largest and strongest tendon in the body) is a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus). The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles (calf muscles) unite into one band of tissue, which becomes the Achilles tendon at the lower end of the calf.
When the muscles of the calf flex, the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel allowing us to stand on our toes when walking, running, jumping, or reaching for something high on a shelf!
When this band of fibrous tissue becomes inflamed due to intense physical activity, it causes pain in the Achilles tendon known as Achilles tendonitis (or tendinitis).
Now, what constitutes intense physical activity?
Playing sports that require quick stops and changes of direction. But this in itself is not the only cause of Achilles tendonitis. Many other reasons exist:
- Omitting a warm up prior to exercise
- Improper shoes (old shoes or high heels)
- History of bone spurs
- Sudden increase in physical activity without allowing your body to adjust to increased training
If you’ve ever had Achilles tendonitis you’ll know the pain associated with this. For those that don’t symptoms include:
- Discomfort or swelling in the back of your heel
- Tight calf muscles
- Limited range of motion when flexing your foot
- Skin on your heel overly warm to the touch
You’d be happy to hear that there are multiple treatments available to you.
Temporarily ceasing physical activity will help, as will RICE.
Remedial and sports massage is also a great way to stretch and later strengthen your calf muscles.
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t let YOUR achilles heel become your achilles heel!
Get in touch TODAY for a free consultation!